Hi friends, neighbors, fowl of the air and beast of the field!
From time to time I will take on commissioned work, and on uncommon occasions the opportunity will present itself to create whatever I’d like for that work. I’ve always considered myself a commercial artist, drawing whatever is requested or required, and only privately doing art that is for my own expression or enjoyment. While a lot of artists experience a quickening of their spirits at an opportunity to get paid to be themselves, I found it to be a situation that revealed some anxieties about being unaware of what I wanted to say. It’s almost as if I forgot what I liked to draw.
Something I’ve learned from observation of how my own mind works is that I cannot drive an Idea out of its hole with brute force. I have had much more luck taking a long hike, a shower, or a bike ride, and bumping into the idea in the wild, with a clear, open mind. After quite a series of failed sketches and even some moderate bashing of my forehead against my drawing table, I had begun to think that I would give up on the project. Not long after that, spontaneously, it seemed, an idea appeared, almost completely assembled in my imagination. The gods of art shone a little light on me, and it was welcome.
I wouldn’t say this is a novel idea, because uncovered ancient technology and silent giants have been a subject explored many times before. Regardless, I found that something I wanted to make energized me: a giant robot knight, rusted and reclaimed by nature, in a beautiful rocky forest. A smaller and regal knight on a handsome reindeer would discover it. A little bit of Miyazaki, a little bit of Shadow of the Colossus, and a little bit of Forest Park here in Portland, where I like to go explore every week.
I did some thumbnails. Most of the time, I like to have 3 elements of interest in an image as a default. My general idea was a large knight, now home to a mighty tree, a smaller figure for scale, and maybe some birds. The placement of the background elements were intuitive and made up as I went along. I don’t usually work this large (17” x 22”) so I made a small grid and mapped it out on the large piece, which worked surprisingly well.
Ink wise, I threw a couple of things at this. It’s mostly brush, a basic wash, and some airbrush. One challenge was to have subtle differences in value clarify the sword, the roots, and the knight’s armor. Even though there are a lot of busy elements here, it still kinda works.
There are a lot of very distressing discussions about AI art going on currently, and I have found myself having a very strong aversion to it both spiritually and politically, not to mention economically and existentially. Although I did not think about this consciously as I was making this piece, there is a theme about the natural world overcoming technology through a lot of my drawings, and it is something I intend on exploring more in the future.
I wish you peace and fortune, and a clear mind my friends,